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Save door-to-door delivery

Pam Johnson

January 30, 2015

The Community Mailbox (CMB) implementation to replace door-to-door mail delivery has been a disaster. The hasty change was done with no public consultation and no planning. Canada Post gave no specific site information and many residents near mailbox locations were not informed until crews arrived to install them.
Safety Hazards and Frozen Mailboxes
In Kanata, Ontario a local community association reported that only a month after installation of the CMBs there are significant safety issues and property damage. Increased parking congestion, no snow and litter removal and access problems were all cited. Communication with Canada Post to ask for information or give feedback is almost impossible. In Oakville, Ontario mailboxes have frozen up in the cold and become inaccessible with people waiting for days to get their mail. One woman who lives across the street from the CMB reported getting her mail ‘directly from the postal truck’ because her box was frozen. Brampton city council asked Canada Post to pay the costs of maintenance at mailboxes. Canada Post has refused.
Harper’s slash and burn
Despite Harper’s claims that it is obsolete and unaffordable, Canada Post is a success story. Canada Post has paid over $1.5 billion to the Federal government since 2000. Close to two thirds of households get home delivery. Ending home mail delivery is a major attack on public services and decent jobs.
On top of 8,000 jobs that will be lost, the Harper government is demonstrating no concern for the serious lack of accessibility to mail for seniors, people with disabilities and all those with mobility issues. Medical associations have expressed concerns at Canada Post’s attempt to do damage control on accessibility to mail by forcing people to get doctor’s notes if they assistance or can’t get to a CMB.
A major Federal court challenge has been launched by CUPW and allies such as The Disabled Women’s Network and The National Pensioners. It argues that the drastic decisions re: elimination of door to door delivery are outside of the jurisdiction of Canada Post and must be made by Parliament, highlighting that Harper’s government is ignoring the hardships and lack of a democratic process by ending home delivery.
Save door-to-door campaign: Postal workers fight back 
In response, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) has launched a Save Door-to-Door campaign focusing on PC-held ridings. At a recent canvas in Etobicoke, sixty postal workers and supporters from CUPE and OPSEU visited 4,000 households on a Saturday morning. Many people are not aware that it is their own MP supporting the end of home delivery. One canvasser said, “Where I was, the commitment at the door to phone up the conservative MP about this was quite strong.’ 
In London Ontario, labour and community members have gone a step further and developed a local campaign, Londoners4door2door. London Labour Council President, Patti Dalton, said,  ‘I think what is unique about our approach is that we have gone right to the postal depots with our community folks. It is community members who are asking for more information and want to tell postal workers that they are supported."
The campaign action plan includes outreach to workers at postal depots, outreach to the community going door-to-door, lobbying city council, social media, and training for door-to-door by pairing experienced canvassers with new people.
The group also wants to connect this campaign to a broader critique of the Harper government and their attacks on unions and democracy. They hope to connect with trade unionists at upcoming Canadian Labour Congress workshops to organize for the upcoming federal election. They want to expand the activist base in the community as well. They are planning direct action training and planning for sit-ins and a letter writing campaign to the mainstream press.
Federal election: Taking it to Harper and PC MPs
Harper’s arrogance and unwillingness to listen to his own supporters is showing. It is the policies of Harper Conservatives that are forcing the end of home delivery and creating the problems of the new system. The problem is not public services or public sector workers or their unions.  A clear majority of Canadians oppose the end of home delivery including many PC supporters. This makes it a vulnerable issue for Harper and PC MPs and they need to hear from their own supporters who oppose this move. The save door-to-door campaign is critical opportunity to connect directly with these voters.

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